COO of Renault to step down over espionage claim

The COO of Renault, Patrick Pélata, resigned on Tuesday following an internal and external audit which showed ‘a chain of failures' in the manner the car manufacturer handled a scandal which alleged industrial espionage by its employees and led to three unjust dismissals.

The audit especially blamed ‘the supervision and control of activities of management of the company's department'.

It is not yet clear when Pélata will leave the company or who is to replace him.

The company, which is 15 percent government owned, confessed last month it was deceived into wrongfully dismissing three executives following an erroneous company investigation which concluded they had received payments from Chinese companies through overseas accounts.

Japan compares Fukushima severity to Chernobyl
The Japanese government has increased the severity of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to level seven, the maximum level on the International Nuclear Event Scale, said the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency.

The new reassessment of the level places Fukushima on a par with the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, while rises in radiation and several earthquake aftershocks have prompted the Japanese government to broaden the evacuation area, the agency said.

The move to raise the level up two notches from five followed an admission that the March 11 earthquake and subsequent Tsunami which caused severe damage to the power plant will bring about long-term environmental damage and serious health consequences.

“In relation to the volume of radioactive materials released, our estimate shows it is about 10 percent of what was released by Chornobyl,” an agency spokesman said.

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